- Welcome to Parent Talk
- 5 ways parents can help children adjust to being at school after months in lockdown
- Supporting Students on the Autism Spectrum
- World Teachers' Day Australia 29 October
- Vaccinations for students aged 12-15 years
- The right to be heard is not the right to be taken seriously
- Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill in NSW
- Free Webinars – Resilience, Relationships, Results
- Uncertainty tolerance - how you can support your student
- You are invited to attend the DISruptABILITY Virtual Conference
- How to support your child online - Free webinar
- Free new app to assist parents and carers
- Plenary Council 2020
- NATSICC Virtual Retreat
- Australian Catholic Super
Welcome to the seventh edition of CCSP's Parent Talk for 2021. I hope that the advice contained in this newsletter helps make your role as a parent just that little bit easier.
I am writing this email from my office in the Polding Centre. It is a strange experience to be back in the city. It is not very busy and, sadly, there are businesses that will not reopen - yet another cost of the global pandemic caused by the insidious COVID-19 virus.
My spirits were lifted when I walked onto the balcony and saw an artist carefully working on the lifesize figures of the Holy Family in preparation for the season of Advent.
The last five weeks have seen many changes across NSW: vaccination rates increasing, restrictions easing, the majority of schools returning to face-to-face learning, a new Premier and Deputy Premier, and, a return to attending Mass in person.
Kindergarten, Year One and Year Twelve students have returned to face-to-face learning and over the next week the remainder of year groups will return to school grounds. The return to school-based learning may cause some stress and anxiety for students and their carers. In this newsletter, we have included some tips to help families through this transition, including a link to an initiative specifically designed to assist parents and carers of children with autism. Unfortunately, it is still not clear just when parents and carers will be able to return to school sites.
On behalf of the parents and carers of children and young people in our Catholic schools, I would like to thank all our wonderful school principals and teachers for providing students with continuity of learning over the last few months while also continuing to prioritise the health, safety and wellbeing of students and their families. I would also like to acknowledge the significant role played the system leaders and Catholic Schools NSW who have so capably steered the NSW Catholic school sector through these trying times.
Later this month, Australia celebrates World Teachers’ Day, we encourage the parents and carers of all Catholic school communities to express their appreciation to our wonderful teachers and the efforts they’ve gone to in caring for our children.
We have included some information from the NSW Department of Health on vaccinations. This is followed by an article on the topic of free speech, which has again emerged as people have expressed their disparate views on vaccinations and the related rights and responsibilities. We hope the material here will help your family to have a conversation on freedom of speech and what it means.
NESA is regularly updating the advice for HSC students. For more information from NESA visit educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/covid-19-advice. Teachers, students and parents can also contact the NESA COVID-19 support team on 1300 138 323 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The First General Assembly of the Plenary Council was held in early October. Included here is a brief overview of the proceedings as well as a link to some information on the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops and details of the NATSICC Virtual Retreat coming up in November. As the voluntary Assisted Dying Bill goes before the NSW Parliament, we provide some advice from the Australian Catholic Bishops and encourage you to inform yourself about this issue and to do what you can to uphold and defend the sanctity of human life.
Submissions to the 2021 Roger O’Sullivan Memorial Award close on 20 October 2021. Thank you to the school communities who have submitted entries. All entrants will be contacted during November.
Once again, thank you to all members of Catholic school communities who have cared for our children over the last few weeks and months. I would also like to thank the health professionals who have cared for the sick and have helped NSW and the ACT achieve the current high rates of vaccination.
Please take care and keep well.
Where are my school shoes? Where is my sports uniform? Why do I have to wear a mask? We have listed some tips to assist you to support your children when they return to learning at school.
Some students may require additional support to transition back to school-based learning. Children and young people may be concerned about reconnecting with their friends, being separated from their parents, catching COVID-19, or readjusting to being in a classroom full of students.
Penny Van Bergen, Associate Professor in Educational Psychology, Macquarie University, and Erin Mackenzie, Lecturer in Education, Western Sydney University, co-authored an article in The Conversation explaining in further detail how and why parents and carers can help prepare their children for the return to school.
The tips are to
Allow time for adjustment
Acknowledge children’s worries
Returning to school will require a change in routine for everyone in the family and it may take a few weeks for the family to adjust to the new schedule. You can read the full article here.
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, schools across NSW and the ACT are preparing for students to return. For students on the autism spectrum, returning to school again may present challenges and opportunities.
Positive Partnerships is a national project funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment through the Helping Children with Autism program.
A series of webinars will be hosted. There will be separate sessions offered with a primary and secondary school focus. For more details. Click here.
The following two sessions have a SECONDARY SCHOOL FOCUS:
Monday 25 October, 2021 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM (AEDT)
Thursday 28 October, 2021 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (AEDT)
Australia will celebrate and thank the teaching profession on World Teachers’ Day on Friday 29 October 2021.
Teachers, with support from parents and carers, have ensured education continues across the country this year, despite major challenges. It has reinforced the significant role teachers play in the lives of children and young people, their families, and communities. Members of Catholic school communities have long known and appreciated what teachers do, but this has become even more evident throughout the global pandemic.
Parents and carers of students in Catholic schools are encouraged to express their deep gratitude to our wonderful Catholic school teachers on World Teachers' Day Australia on 29 October. There are many ways this can be done and we encourage you to be creative.
You can access more information on World Teachers' Day Australia at the official website here.
NSW Health has sought the assistance of the Catholic sector to communicate the following messages:
- NSW Health strongly urges all students aged 12-15 years to receive two doses of either Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible before returning to school.
- There is currently sufficient supply of the Moderna vaccine to community pharmacies and the Pfizer vaccine to General Practitioners. Bookings can be made via the Vaccine Clinic Finder. Depending on location, bookings are available within the next few days.
- COVID-19 vaccination is the best protection against severe illness and also reduces the risk of spreading COVID-19 to others. Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 now will help to protect both you, your family and your school community.
The following factsheets regarding Moderna and young people are available:
- Commonwealth Government factsheet
- Children aged 12-15 years require parental or guardian consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. For more information, visit: COVID-19 vaccination FAQs for parents and guardians.
NSW Health has provided the following social media posts/tiles:
NSW Health has conducted a series of Q&A sessions about vaccination with young people, which includes CALD and Aboriginal representation. The links are provided below:
How do you have a conversation with your child about people who protested against lockdowns, refuse to be vaccinated or believe the new Premier of NSW will be unable to govern impartially because he is a Catholic?
In a recent article, Free speech doesn't mean you can say anything,published in The Conversation, Luke Zaphir, Researcher for the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project, The University of Queensland and Peter Ellerton, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Education; Curriculum Director, UQ Critical Thinking Project, The University of Queensland uses the analogy of road rules to explain some of the limits of Freedom of Expression. For example, you may believe you do not need to wear a seatbelt but if you choose to drive on a public road you must follow the rules and wear a seatbelt.
Why you have the right to be heard but not to be taken seriously is the title of an interesting TED talk by Peter Elleron which you could watch with your family to stimulate discussion on this topic.
Earlier this year, CCSP’s Parent Talk included an article on palliative care and how it is important for us and our children to educate ourselves on the sanctity of human life. The introduction of the Voluntary Assisted Dying Bill to the NSW Parliament is of great concern to many of CCSP’s members. As this debate unfolds over the coming weeks, it is important for us all be aware of what is literally a life-and-death issue and to pray for an outcome that upholds our common dignity as human persons made in the image and likeness of God.
The Australian Catholic Bishops have addressed this topic and have published some freely available advice that dispels some of the myths that are found in the debate on euthanasia. See https://www.catholic.org.au/bishops-commission-for-pastoral-life/alternative-to-euthanasia
This advice also points out that you can help ensure that Australians are always treated with true dignity and compassion, right up to the point of their death: by talking to your friends, family, colleagues and Members of Parliament about the dangers of euthanasia for our society, and putting forward the alternative pathway of good, readily available palliative care, loving support, and true, life-affirming compassion. We are called to get involved in the debate because this is a debate which affects us all.
For more information and to sign a petition opposing euthanasia, go to HOPE (Preventing Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide) at https://www.noeuthanasia.org.au/protect_life_nsw
Parents have a huge impact on the development and success of their children’s future.
In this 45-minute webinar on Wednesday 27 October at 7.00pm you will learn:
- The power of effective communications in the workplace
- How to identify workplace emotions and support your team and colleagues to succeed everyday
- How to ask empowering questions that drive positive change in the work culture and business objectives
- How to identify talent and coach your team to their full potential
- How to recognise and address the emotional strengths and weaknesses to get the best out of everyone
- How to promote emotional intelligence in others
- How to inspire and empower your colleague for long-term success
How to be more resilient and achieve your goals
Wednesday 20 October 7.00pm https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/178986000947
How to manage your emotions and buid better relationships
How to become Happier and support your Family
'Uncertainty tolerance' (UT), or how we process and respond to unknown or complex situations, is increasingly recognised as an essential workplace skill. Uncertainties in the workplace are ever-present and we’ve seen shared, global experiences of this with the uncertainties surrounding work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Tuesday 9 November, Associate Professor Michelle Lazarus will discuss the impacts of UT on students, and outline some strategies to help parents to support their children to improve their UT to prepare them for their futures in further education and work. Register via this link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1213662242126413580
CCSP Chair Wayne Davie and Deputy Chair Cheryl Murphy have been invited to participate in the Catholic Schools NSW DISruptABILITY Virtual Conference. Wayne and Cheryl will speak about how the booklet Supporting Diverse Learning in Catholic Schools, A guide for Parents by Parents can assist other parents and carers.
The virtual conference seeks to be inclusive of all those who provide educational support and care for students with disability in our schools. It will be held on 18 and 19 November 2021.
The keynote speakers are Professor Linda Graham, Dr Bree Jimenez and Mr Jim Good.
Schools are encouraged to bring teams including:
- School leadership teams
- Learning support and/or diverse learning teachers
- Pastoral care and wellbeing coordinators
- Leaders of learning and/or pedagogy
- Classroom teachers and teachers’ aides
- Parent and carers, Diocesan Parent Organizations, Parish Priests and Pastoral Parish Staff
LEARN MORE AND REGISTER: https://eecw.eventsair.com/disruptability-2021
Are you concerned about how your child is coping with the multitude of changes that have affected them during 2020 and 2021? The Raising Healthy Children App is targeted towards parents and carers with children aged 12 years and under and includes information on health, development and wellbeing based on the child’s age.
The app was developed by the Raising Children Network as part of its program to support parents’ mental health literacy by building knowledge and confidence concerning the social and emotional wellbeing of children. More info about how to download the app is here.
The First General Assembly of the Fifth Plenary Council of Australia ran from 3-10 October 2021. This national online gathering saw participants engage in spiritual conversations to discern what the Holy Spirit is saying to us as the members of the Catholic Church in Australia. An article from Vatican News provides a good summary of the key themes of the First General Assembly, including calls for ‘a more listening Church’. Recordings of each of the daily Masses and some of the Council sessions are available on the Plenary Council website at https://plenarycouncil.catholic.org.au/ This site also contains the First General Assembly Agenda, the Instrumentum Laboris, and other resources to help you engage with the process.
The Church now enters a time for “prayer, reflection, maturation and development” until the Second General Assembly, which is scheduled for July 2022. Please keep in your thoughts and prayers all those faithfully participating in the Plenary Council as they discern the way ahead for the life of our Church.
In another exercise in synodality, the global Church is preparing for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. For more information on this and to provide your response to the synod questions, go to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference site at https://www.catholic.org.au/synodalchurch
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council (NATSICC) retreat will focus on the understanding of Faith and Spirituality from both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous perspectives. The event is suitable for those working in a Catholic Context with First Nations Catholics in addition to First Nations people. Rather than the conventional conference format, this true 'Retreat' format incorporates quiet time for reflection and a slower, more contemplative pace.
We thank Australian Catholic Superannuation for the generous support they give our national body, Catholic School Parents Australia, and for their ongoing commitment to the parents and carers of children and young people in Catholic schools.
For more information about their services and offerings, please visit catholicsuper.com.au.